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Mary Frances Gardner enjoys making connections with clients and is known as someone who can easily adapt to any environment. Driven to be a detail-oriented problem solver, Mary Frances works with business clients in multiple industries on mergers and acquisitions, project and operational financing, contract drafting and review, business formation, and corporate governance.

In addition, she provides a strong compliance foundation to her clients who need guidance in state and federal higher education law, labor and employment, and general business.  Mary Frances cut her teeth in higher education law and was instrumental in developing and implementing a centralized compliance function at two universities. She is often called upon to help uncover compliance gaps and deficiencies, helping clients avoid future legal, regulator, financial and operational challenges. Interpreting client wants and needs and developing logical and implementable solutions is a forte of Mary Frances, in a variety of areas of the law. 

Memberships & Awards

Ohio State Bar Association
Columbus Bar Association

Key Experience

Responsible for Clery Act compliance program for a large public institution of higher education
Responsible for the development and publication of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for an institution of higher education
Developed and ensured distribution of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Annual Notification for an institution of higher education

Work Experience

2021 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
2019-2021 The Ohio State University
2018-2019 Michigan State University

Speaking Engagements

"Hazing on Campus: Complying with Collin's Law," AICUO Compliance Day, Ohio Dominican University, September 2022

"Part II - The Aftermath of a Crisis," Employment Law Alliance Webcast, August 2022